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Researching Employers

As you prepare for a career fair, get ready for an interview, create a cover letter, or prepare for any interaction with an employer, it’s important to do some research about the organization you’ll be engaging with. Use these questions to help guide you:

  • What industry is this organization in? Who are their competitors and how are they different?
  • What is the history of the organization?
  • Is it a public, private, non-profit organization, or government agency?
  • Where is it headquartered? Are there multiple locations? Is the organization international?
  • What is the size of the organization?
  • What kind of internship or job openings do they have?
  • What skills and experiences does this organization value?
  • Who are the key players of the organization? How is the organization structured?
  • What is the organization's culture, mission, vision, and values?
  • What products or services does the organization make, sell or provide?
  • Who are the clients this organization serves?
  • What has this organization been in the news about lately? 
  • What kind of recognition has this organization received?

There are many ways to research employers, use the strategies below to help you get started!

Network

If you already know someone who works at the organization, reach out to them or find new contacts through the University of Minnesota Alumni Association’s Maroon and Gold Network, a free online networking platform that allows you to get career-related advice from UMN alumni around the world who have volunteered to share it. You can also find contacts through using LinkedIn, the world’s largest online professional networking website. Once you find a contact, request an informational interview!

Organization’s website

Review the organization’s website; pay particular attention to their mission statement, news section, career page, and organization structure.

Glassdoor 

On Glassdoor, you can read reviews about organizations, find salary information, and interviewing stories from people who work there. 

Social Media

A good place to start with social media is LinkedIn because you can search and find company profiles, which includes an overview of the organization, a list of all their employees who are on LinkedIn, job openings, and updates. You can click “follow” so that you receive updates about the organization on your feed. You may also want to use other social media, like twitter or facebook to see what the organization is posting about.

News

Use Google news search, check business journals, or search the local newspaper where the organization is headquartered to find the latest happenings about the organization you are researching.  

Career Databases

The UMN Libraries provides access to a variety of premier databases to get employer information, including:

  • GuideStar: information on all nonprofits in the United States that are registered with the IRS
  • Hoovers: Detailed company and industry information including fortune 500 companies
  • PrivCo: Provides information on privately held companies
The CLA Career Readiness Guide talks about researching employers and a host of other career-related topics in depth. Access it online, or pick up a copy in CLA Career Services or in one of the CLA Academic Advising offices.